Kyle Higgins shared what would have been if he had another year on Nightwing
"The search for Zucco was originally going to be much longer, delving into the mask killer history/mystery of Chicago. The Prankster-- who was not initially part of the story-- was a wild card. A free agent who came to Chicago/put on a mask because of Nightwing's arrival there. The main "villain" of the story was Ghostwalker... the former sidekick of Aether. He was essentially the Robin of Chicago. In the past, it was going to turn out that Ghostwalker's identity had been found out... which lead some bad guys to kill his family. Ghostwalker hunted the bad guys down... and killed them. This brought Ghostwalker into conflict with his mentor. Ghostwalker and Aether came to blows... and Ghostwalker killed Aether. The rest of the heroes came after Ghostwalker. It's here that Ghostwalker realized how much the "mask" had ruined his life... and how much the masks ruined the city. Ghostwalker vowed no more masks in Chicago... and has murdered every mask that has come to the city since.
Ultimately, things were going to come to a head in Chicago in a big chaotic third act... that forced Nightwing to SAVE Tony Zucco from Prankster/Ghostwalker.
The next year was going to feature Tony Zucco getting acquitted for the Flying Graysons murder. My idea was to turn Zucco into Nightwing's Kingpin... with Ghostwalker as his agent/Bullseye.
Then, as Nightwing's presence grew in Chicago, William Cobb was going to come to Chicago and start a new Brotherhood of the Wing (that was the temporary name)-- a Court of Owls type organization built around Nightwing. "
He continued :
"Oh, I should also mention that Dick's transition from Robin to Nightwing was going to be because Zucco popped back up in Gotham (to make contact with Sonia). Dick/Bruce caught wind of it and Dick wanted to go after him. But Bruce forbade him from doing it (he was worried about Dick getting carried away. Going over the edge).
So, Dick quit. Created a new identity (Nightwing) to hunt down Zucco. Which he did... and Zucco died of a heart attack in front of him (in a scene similar to Dark Victory). I was going to get into how Zucco faked the heart attack obviously, too. But the real draw of this part was that it pulled the Nightwing identity (and the creation of it) AWAY from Batman a bit... and centered it on the man who killed Dick's parents. Which, if you're trying to define Dick Grayson outside of "used to be Robin," I think is a good place to start."